Borlotti Beans, final
Oil on linen on panel, 8×10.

Here is the final, after the 10th painting session which took place almost three weeks after I started. The first nine sessions were on consecutive nights. In total it took about 12 hours a lot more noodling about than I anticipated.

Of course one may be wondering how long the beans stayed “good”? Not very long. Some of the beans began to wilt after the first few sessions. (I had them waiting in the refrigerator for too long before I began painting.) Notice below and in the video where at some place during the fifth session I took liberties with the stem ends of the two diagonal beans nearest the front, after they had begun to wilt.

Fortunately before they got too bad I had most of the information I needed to work out the forms. By then I had made enough mental notes of the most important color relationships, like along the top edges of the two diagonal beans nearest the front. I found myself really obsessing over the skin of the farther of these, with its cold, ocean-like blue-green and somewhat purple tones, and the brightly lit curve of what after a while felt like its “head” as if it were a dolphin surfacing; and where the long and subtle ribbon of colors on this bean met the pale, almost grayish-pinks and deep crimsons of the frontmost bean. I would refine these meeting edges over and over again trying to get the colors right, and at times couldn’t believe how vibrant it seemed, almost Pre-Raphaelite (I feared). But that’s how these beans could resonate just sitting there.

The other tricky part was the cool zone towards the rear with the rather fat, green- and purple-flecked bean; the right part of it being more red and the left more blue, and across all this were the soft, shadowed bumps. If there was a part I was worried about overworking it was in this difficult pattern where the green had to appear as though they were showing through.

It wasn’t until about the seventh night that I began to feel I was getting somewhere:

Borlotti Beans, 2nd session Borlotti Beans, 3rd session

Borlotti Beans, 4th session Borlotti Beans, 5th session

Borlotti Beans, 6th session Borlotti Beans, 7th session

Borlotti Beans, 8th session Borlotti Beans, 9th session